[Board] Travel Expenses

Anne Ghisla a.ghisla at gmail.com
Fri Aug 31 01:59:03 PDT 2012

On Wed, 29 Aug 2012 08:49:36 -0600
Peter Batty <peter at ebatty.com> wrote:

> I think it's probably good to have some sort of rough guidelines but
> situations can vary so much that I'm not sure it's worth getting too
> detailed with these. The situation of conference organizers and
> individual speakers also varies widely.

I agree with Peter's thoughts, and I think we should state that OSGeo
speakers may need refunds, leaving the decision over the amount to
personal negotiations with the organisers of the conference.

> The challenge with a per diem is that a sensible amount does vary
> hugely, not just by country but by city. In quite a few cases,
> conference organizers may have a deal with a particular hotel, which
> often includes some free or heavily discounted rooms, so they would
> rather give you one of these rooms than pay a separate per diem. And
> also many conferences have social events which mean you don't need to
> pay for dinner separately if you get into those (and some don't of
> course). I have often done events where the conference paid for
> travel and hotel but I picked up food and incidentals myself. But my
> point is just that there is a very wide range of situations.
> Also the situation of speakers varies. For some people, especially
> those who work for larger companies, the company and/or individual
> may see value in the publicity of speaking, and the networking they
> get at the conference, and what they can learn from the rest of the
> program, or they just see value in a good opportunity to spread the
> word on what they want to talk about, so they may be happy to pay the
> expenses if the conference doesn't have a budget for it. My point
> here is that I don't think we should have an expectation that
> conferences have to pay expenses in all cases (but in some it's
> entirely appropriate of course).
> I have been fortunate to speak at lots of conferences around the
> world and the circumstances have varied a lot, from me paying my own
> way individually, to my company paying, to the conference paying
> expenses, to them paying expenses plus a speaker fee. There are lots
> of other factors that go into whether deciding to accept including
> what I think I will learn from the conference and attendees, what is
> the audience, is it a place I want to visit :) etc etc. Again my
> point is just that situations really vary, even for me as an
> individual.
> I think what Jeff and others have raised is maybe that we should have
> some guidelines to set the expectation that speakers may need
> reimbursement for expenses, rather than just having an expectation
> that everything is free. This would certainly help initiate the
> conversation about being paid, which I think is a help. But at the
> same time I'd hate to see things switch to there being an expectation
> that any time an OSGeo advocate speaks at an event they have to be
> paid a set amount (I don't think anyone is suggesting that, but
> there's a bit of a danger of things moving that way if we set
> specific per diem rates). We need to recognize that a lot of events
> have very limited (sometimes no) budget for speakers, so if we as a
> community aren't willing to pay our own way some of the time, the
> number of speaking opportunities we get will be massively reduced.
> (As Mark said, this opens up the question that if we had more revenue
> then potentially OSGeo could afford to fund more activity like this,
> but right now we are very limited in what we can do directly).
> So anyway, I guess my main point after rambling round a bit is that I
> am wary of a "one size fits all" solution. I think we should set an
> expectation that it is reasonable for speakers to expect to have some
> or all of their expenses covered, but that this may not always be
> needed depending on the situation. And that there is some flexibility
> - providing free accommodation at the conference venue would be a
> very reasonable option, for example (instead of a per diem).
> In general it always has to come down to a negotiation between the
> speaker and the event organizer - if event A says I can only afford
> to offer you a room and free entry to the conference, you'll have to
> pay your air fare, speaker B may decide that makes sense for her
> situation but speaker C may not.
> Cheers,
>     Peter.
> On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 7:19 AM, Eli Adam <eadam at co.lincoln.or.us>
> wrote:
> > On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 5:50 AM, nicolas bozon
> > <nicolas.bozon at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > May be we could get an average amount that previous Ambassadors
> > > spend for travelling and  speaking in every continent.
> > > I'm not sure every FOSS4G conferences would be able to cover all
> > > that, that's why i was telling about the Foundation money.
> > > I'm sorry if i was wrong on this.
> >
> >
> > FYI: In addition to US per diem rates,
> > http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287, there is also the State
> > Department http://aoprals.state.gov/web920/per_diem.asp for the
> > whole world.  Although I'm sure these both have flaws, using this or
> > something similar avoids the difficulty of selecting an amount for
> > each place or an absolute amount that works in many areas.  This
> > also removes any debate about the 'appropriateness' of selecting
> > this hotel or that hotel.  Other Counties probably offer similar
> > websites.
> >
> > Eli
> > _______________________________________________
> > Board mailing list
> > Board at lists.osgeo.org
> > http://lists.osgeo.org/mailman/listinfo/board
> >

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